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SMART-GRIDS: Advanced Technology in Public Utilities and Energy.

KFD Foundation with prof. Gabriele Zito is involved in SMART-GRIDS project for Advanced Technology in Public Utilities and Energy.

This project is aimed at showing how, by applying the technologies in the area of Distribution Automation to real Distribution Companies (DISCOs), it is possible to monitor and control processes, quantify phenomena, plan resources exploitation and maintenance procedures, with an overall efficiency higher than the one obtained with the technologies actually in use at the moment. This target will be reached through the creation of an Automation System, based on the integration of different technologies like SCADA, GIS (Geographic Information System), web-based control and in general all application connected to the area of Distribution Automation.

The advantages achievable by applying these technologies will be evaluated also considering all innovations introduced in the energy industry by the re-regulation of energy markets, the growing diffusion of Distributed Generation and the availability of new form of enterprises like multi-utility, distributed utility and virtual utility.

The use of an Automation Distribution System can allow obtaining:

  • the management optimization: improvement of the service, effciency recover, company planning, collecting, processing and recording the statistical data, adaptability to the change in the operative conditions;
  • reliability and security: non-stop tele-monitoring, timeliness in the emergency evaluation, plan of intervention, intervention time decrease in case of failures, preventive and predictive maintenance;
  • quality and measurability of the service: customer satisfaction, improvement of the transparency level and the communication with the users;
  • integration of telecontrol and infomative systems with the scale economies: unified and coordinated approach of the management of automation and telecontrol systems together with the systems that manage the geographical information of the terriotry where the networks are located, developing precious scale economy and reinforcing the link between the territory coordination, sustinable development and environmental safeguard;
  • integrated supervision and control with Distributed Generation: the increasing performance of this technology for the electricity and heat production forces new managements for the gas and electricity distribution companies and new problems for the management of the grids;
  • scale economies coming from the most recent paradigms for suppling the public utility services: Multi-Utility, Distributed Utility and Virtual Utility. In this context, the new ICT technologies and control methodologies of the Distribution Automation allow integrating heterogeneous utilities (e.g. gas and electricity) located on territory not necessarily superimposable or distributed in a capillary manner on a wide geographic scale (regional, national, etc.).

The main aim is to compare the performances that a suitable common hardware and software platform can provide for different DisCOs (Distribution Companies). The feasibility of forms of aggregation like multi-utilities or virtual utilities will be addressed, exploring the improvements in terms of scale economy or efficiency that can be achieved thanks to the introduction of suitable communication systems based on ICT technology. Through this approach is also possible to enlarge the oligopolistic energy market ensuring small companies to survive in this environment. In fact, small distribution companies although heterogeneous and distributed on to the country can be managed as a whole ensuring economic performances typical of larger utilities.

Another objective of project is promotion of the Research Center on public utilities and energy and the foundation of an Observatory, whose activities will be performed all along the three years of the project’s duration. They will be responsible for:

  • monitoring during the implementation of the project technologic developmentes of automation and supervisory systems for public utility services;
  • managing the education activities included in the project;
  • promoting the results obtained at the end of the project and during its evolution to public utilities located in the Apulia Region.